Business Briefly 6/5
U.S. retailers report May sales declines
NEW YORK (AP) – Although consumer confidence may be increasing, it’s not showing up at the cash register yet. Many retailers posted disappointing May sales on Thursday, and food and necessities remained high on shoppers’ lists.
According a Goldman Sachs/ICSC tally, overall same-store sales fell 4.6 percent, worse than the 3 percent drop predicted.
The lower-than-expected results did not include Wal-Mart stores, which in recent months has boosted results but has stopped reporting monthly figures.
Last month’s same-store sales had edged up with Wal-Mart, but excluding the world’s largest retailer, May was the 10th straight month of same-store sales declines.
Jobless benefit rolls fall, claims dip
WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of people on the unemployment insurance rolls fell slightly for the first time in 20 weeks, while the tally of new jobless claims also dipped, the government said Thursday.
The Labor Department report provides a glimmer of good news for job seekers, though both drops were small and the figures remain significantly above the levels associated with a healthy economy. The job market likely will remain weak well into next year, according to estimates from government and private economists.
The department also said U.S. workers were more productive in the first quarter than previously estimated, as rapid layoffs forced companies to make do with fewer employees.
Oil rises to new high for ’09, near $70
NEW YORK (AP) – Oil prices on Thursday set a new high for the year, buoyed by a weaker dollar and the first drop in unemployment since January.
Benchmark crude for July delivery was up $2.69 to settle at $68.81 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil climbed as high as $69.60 earlier in the day.
In London, Brent prices rose $2.83 to settle at $68.71 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil prices have rallied for three months, and they soared this week to their highest levels since November.